BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends Hasbro Modify Advertising for ‘Inquisitor Lightsaber’ to Better Assure Viewers Understand Product’s Capabilities

New York, NY – June  22,  2015 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that Hasbro, Inc., modify broadcast advertising for the company’s “Star Wars Inquisitor Lightsaber” to better assure that child viewers understand the toy does not light up.

CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

A 30-second commercial for the toy came to the attention of CARU through its routine monitoring of advertising directed to children.

The dynamic, fast-paced commercial featured both live action shots of a child at play and video of animated characters from Star Wars Rebels battling with glowing blue and red Lightsabers.

The commercial opened with a series of shots of a young boy playing with a Lightsaber, interspersed with video of an animated character from Star Wars Rebels who is using a Lightsaber as well. A voiceover states: “Star Wars Rebels. The new Inquisitor Lightsaber with three ways to battle.”

A small, white video super at the bottom of the screen states: “Toy does not light up.”

Following its review of the advertising at issue, CARU determined that child viewers could reasonably takeaway the message that the toy does light up.

CARU noted in its decision that the commercial featured live footage of a boy using a Lightsaber intermingled with animated video footage from the Star Wars Rebels series that realistically depicted a lit up Lightsaber. Further, CARU noted, the island shot at the end of the commercial featured packaging that depicted a glowing Lightsaber. Finally, CARU said, the fact that Hasbro sells Lightsaber toys that do light up increased the potential for confusion.

Hasbro stated that while it respectfully disagreed with CARU’s conclusion, it accepted CARU’s decision and will take CARU’s views into consideration in future advertising.